Skip to main content

Jewish Brigade


Established by the British war cabinet in 1944 as the only Jewish military unit to fight the Axis powers.

The Jewish Brigade represented the culmination of efforts by Jews in both Palestine and the United States to create an independent Jewish fighting force. In 1939, Jews in Palestine began to volunteer for military service, and after repeated pressure from the Jewish Agency and other Jewish organizations, in 1942 the British agreed to form a Palestine Regiment. The Palestine Regiment was sent to serve in the Middle East, although its responsibilities there were primarily restricted to guard duty.

Finally, in September 1944, the British created the Jewish Brigade (in Hebrew, Ha-Hayil ) out of the Palestine Regiment, a field artillery regiment, and other auxiliary service units. The men, numbering approximately 5,000, were placed under the command of a Canadian-born Jew, Brigadier Ernest Frank Benjamin of the Royal Engineers, and they continued their training with the Eighth Army in Italy. In early 1945, the soldiers of the Jewish Brigade saw their first fighting at Alfonsine, and in April 1945 they led the offensive across the Senio River.

As they moved into northern Italy, the Jewish soldiers met Holocaust survivors for the first time; thereafter they provided them with food, clothing, and assistance immigrating to Palestine. They continued these activities in Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Holland and also assisted the Allied authorities in searching for Holocaust survivors.

In 1946, the Jewish Brigade was disbanded, partly because of increasing tension between the Yishuv and the mandatory authorities.

see also jewish agency for palestine; yishuv.


Beckman, Morris. The Jewish Brigade: An Army with Two Masters, 19441945. Staplehurst: Spellmount, 1998.

Blum, Howard. The Brigade: An Epic Story of Vengeance, Salvation and World War II. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Rabinowitz, Louis. Soldiers from Judaea, Palestinian Jewish Units in the Middle East, 19411943. New York: American Zionist Emergency Council, 1945.

bryan daves

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Jewish Brigade." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . 23 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Jewish Brigade." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . (February 23, 2019).

"Jewish Brigade." Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. . Retrieved February 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.